January 8, 2010

Alan Chin, Afghanistan

Chin Taliban prisoners

With America’s surge underway, BAG contributor Alan Chin’s photo of Taliban prisoners in Afghanistan, taken in 2001, is not only a stunning image but documents the early days of a battle stretching out now almost a decade. (…And then, how often do we actually see portraiture of Taliban fighters?)

The photograph was also recently featured in The New Yorker as one of the “Ten Great Photographs” exhibited last year. Reviewer Vince Aletti wrote:

Chin’s exhibition, “Dispatches: 1998-2008,” included photographs from Kosovo, Iraq, China after the Sichuan earthquake, New Orleans after Katrina, and New York City on September 11, 2001. But, like all fine photojournalists, Chin is not just delivering the news, and this image of Taliban fighters in an overcrowded prison reverberates beyond the moment it was made. His frieze of faces recalls crowds in Biblical illustrations—gawkers at Gethsemane, perhaps.

And if you haven’t see the slide show of Alan’s work at New York’s Sasha Wolf Gallery drawing on his most significant projects, you should take a look. Eleven of the thirty-four photos, I’m proud to say, have appeared and have been part of the discussion here at BAGnewsNotes.

(photo: Alan Chin via Sasha Wolf Gallery)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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